Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Movie review by
S. K. List, Common Sense Media
Darby O'Gill and the Little People Movie Poster Image
Imaginative story will draw tweens and teens in.
  • G
  • 1996
  • 93 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Janet Munro's character is assertive and doesn't wait for the boy she likes to ask her out.

Violence & Scariness

A moaning banshee, harbinger of death, and the Costa Bower, the death coach, make a short, shivery appearance. Some violence; mostly off-screen. The heroine swipes the hero's cheek, leaving a mark.

Sexy Stuff

Some kissing.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One scene relies on the Leprechaun king getting drunk; other drinking presented casually.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this low-key fantasy will win tweens' hearts, and most will find the brief scary parts just spooky enough. But as Darby and the leprechauns swap clever tricks, the film's engaging plot and evocative styling will keep the attention of older kids and adults as well. There's some drinking, shown as acceptable, and some brief scary scenes that may disturb more sensitive children.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bybenraleigh April 9, 2016

Not for young kids

This movie had a lot of drinking the word ''hell'' and it was scary.
Parent Written byheather s October 11, 2011

Not Fun for Young Kids

I remembered this as a great movie when I was a kid. The leprechauns and their dancing are very cool but the main characters are all grown-ups. My 4-year old ba... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

Darby O'Gill (Albert Sharpe) loses his job to a younger man (Sean Connery). On his way home to tell his daughter Katie (Janet Munro), he ends up in an underground leprechaun kingdom. Although he is told can't leave the kindom, Darby escapes, followed by King Brian (Jimmy O'Dea). Brian ends up becoming Darby's property, and Darby demands Brian grant him three wishes and he'll let him go.

Is it any good?

The media has used leprechauns as cereal salesmen and serial killers, but Disney and director Robert Stevenson effectively captured their mischievous charm and integral place in Irish tradition. Central elements are: a multi-layered story (based on works by H.T. Kavanagh); skillful use of special effects photography; and a capable, winning cast. Darby himself is a character as colorful as his own tales and well-matched by King Brian, who manages to avoid stereotype while proving his fondness for Darby, both as a worthy adversary and fast friend.

The film offers a rich blend of atmospheric otherworldliness (in the mists of the fairy mountain, Knocknasheega, where pookas reign) and earthy realism (in the rustic sets, rousing music and authentically craggy faces). In his youthful glory, Sean Connery shines (and sings!) in his scenes with the adorable Janet Munro. She's spunky and modern, inviting him to a dance and initiating their first kiss. Their bumpy romance adds a warm dimension. Children and even adults may stumble over some of the Irish accents, but these enhance the flavor and obscure nothing essential. From the same Disney era which produced the favorite Old Yeller, Darby O'Gill and the Little People is a classic in its own right. In fact, one household has used it to celebrate St. Patrick's Day annually since their 14-year-old was little, and it's still a favorite.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages. What do the characters learn? Families can also discuss why Darby was afraid to tell his daughter that he lost his job, and how he was willing to sacrifice himself for her.

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